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Despair at book I am writing


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Dec 7, 2011, 4:34am Top

see it's not even a book anymore it's like a story I can't lengthen it there's hardly anything to it and when people ask me what it's aobut I can't answer 'cause there really isn't an answer I can say and it's becoming like a chore to me and normally when this happens I scrap the whole thing except the main charactor who i love and I know is good and start again and try merging all these bits I like together and it becomes a massive mess and well it's aready a mess and I don't know what to do about it anymore
It's give it up or just keep pushing but it really needs a kick like an energy drink to it but I don't know how to do that.
People tell me I can write I'm good at writing but now what?
I gave a tutor the 1st part of my book and he liked it, truly he did but the rest of the book how ever hard I look at it or don't look at it I have a break i still can't really get the grips of it.
I mean I don't have a life I haven't for about 2 years now the book has comsumed me in some ways

Dec 7, 2011, 6:10am Top

What you are experiencing is very common when people start writing without a plan or outline. Start off by writing a draft of the major events in your book, a list of the main characters, an idea of how it will end and how you plan to get there. Many people prefer to make this synopsis very nearly as detailed as the book itself will be but I prefer to use it simply as a street map, showing where I start out, where I plan to get to and some of the routes I hope to take - and if, while travelling, I spot an interesting road along the way then the route is flexible but I always keep in mind my final destination.

Once you have planned out a rough idea of your 'book-map' you can start to fill in some of the gaps, for example, this is where I try to break things down into chapters, again more as a rough plan than something carved in stone - eg. chapter 1 Introduce Mark and Amy; chapter 2 a little on Amy's background; chapter 3 set in the car on the way to the funeral etc. Once you have this slightly more detailed route map you can always refer to it to tell you where you should be in your story so that when you hit that block you already know what your next chapter is about and then write that chapter, no matter what. No good writing comes easily and writing is all about keeping at it, slogging away when you don't feel like it and revising and correcting. Much better to write a chapter that turns out to be awful and needs a complete rewrite than to write nothing at all.

And seriously, I'm trying to be helpful here, though I'm sure it will just come across as being critical, but punctuation and grammar, no matter what your teacher may tell you, are massively important. If you ever want to get published it is vital to realise that, however good your story is, publishers and agents get thousands of submissions every month and the ones they chuck out without even reading are the ones that have no capital letters or punctuation: they know right from the start that these manuscripts will cost them more in time and effort at the editing stage than they will ever recoup from the finished book. Presenting your work in a professional manner is half the battle so do grab yourself a good book on English usage and study it hard. It's much less fun than writing pages and pages of storyline when the muse is upon you but it's the hard graft that will eventually turn you into a 'proper' writer. Good luck.

Dec 7, 2011, 6:56am Top

see i don't write like that, i just write in no particular order you know there's no plan, it's a loose bunch of sketches sometimes. Main events last two pages if lucky. There's a load of words and little happening.

Dec 7, 2011, 10:03am Top

Perhaps Booksloth is offering an idea from a different perspective, but an idea just the same.

1. Take your existing story.
2. Write down a general idea of each sketch or scene.
2a. as a sub to this, find what the primary theme is for each scene. Is it an action scene, romance, etc.
3. Find their proper sequence (since you say you don't write in a linear fashion.)
4. Determine what might be missing to connect the scenes.
5. Write the connections. Expand scenes where they need filler due to type of scene.

Sometimes, I find that I've written my primary plot, but need to add secondary ones to fill out the book, make it more dynamic.

Just some things to consider.

PS Booksloth is right about the grammar thing too.

Dec 7, 2011, 10:18am Top

Maybe it's time to put this story aside and work on something completely different, in order to escape from the paralysis you're in. Working on something new might give you a new perspective on this story in the future. And trying different writing methods, as Booksloth suggested, could help as well.

Dec 8, 2011, 2:21pm Top

It's possible that you're trying to create a novel out of what should be a short story or maybe a short novella. There's no requirement that every idea turn into a novel.

Dec 9, 2011, 2:40pm Top

If you're not already in a critique group, you should consider it. Talking through your story with other writers may prompt further ideas that would not have occurred to you in isolation. Even responding to the work of other writers will help you build skills and develop an eye for what works (and doesn't).

Dec 9, 2011, 4:56pm Top

every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. And in any story, someone (or something) changes. Get a lover, lose a lover, grow up, move, have a life-changing event (or a minor one). You say you love the character, and the character is good. Why is the character good? How does the character change? What happens to the character? Good? Bad? what changes around the character?How is the character affected? How can you make the reader identify and feel about the character as you do? How can the reader identify with the character? Answer these questions and you have the story. The rest is editing.

Dec 19, 2011, 2:47pm Top

Step away from it. Get it out of your mind. You may have to wait years and sometimes you'll find your subconscious has been working on it without you knowing it. I've got works that have taken me, literally, decades. I don't work from outline or plan either. So we may be similar. If you have faith in the prose. If the character(s) is(are) coming a live for you, all will be fine. Patience. Find other projects.

Edited: Jan 24, 2012, 3:49pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Edited: Jan 30, 2012, 12:24pm Top

If you want to keep things simple, just think of two things:

-Where do your characters start?
-Where do your characters end up?

Write the start with the ending in mind and then write towards it. A lot of things are bound to change along the way and you may even change the ending entirely before you get there, but knowing where you want to begin and where you want to go makes a lot of difference.

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